November 2017 Archives

Misc. Thoughts on Another Successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Last year’s Cyber Monday was thrilling because we vastly exceeded expectations based upon comparatively low 2015 sales. We were left scrambling around to pack and ship orders while our warehouse was mid-construction. It was hectic and stressful, but also fun and rewarding. I think that’s the only time in our history where we’ve been extraordinarily off (in a good way) with our sales projections. I wrote that getting all of our orders shipped out on Cyber Monday “felt like we just won the Super Bowl.”… Continue reading

11/29/17

Amazon Has Quietly Started Delivering Packages

Amazon Flex. Does that service ring a bell? It didn’t for me, not until I read Gizmodo’s exhaustive piece last week entitled Amazon’s Last Mile. It begins: Who delivers Amazon orders? Increasingly, it’s plainclothes contractors with few labor protections, driving their own cars, competing for shifts on the company’s own Uber-like platform. Though it’s deployed in dozens of cities and associated with one of the world’s biggest companies, government agencies and customers alike are nearly oblivious to the program’s existence. Flex is in 50 cities… Continue reading

11/21/17

Constructing Great Support Emails

I want to expand a bit on my last post about customer service as a competitive advantage. In the past I’ve written about our customer service workflow, our “self service” system, and how we’ve begun “auditing” specific functions of our site based upon our support emails, but in this post I want to focus primarily on writing great emails. In particular, emails when a customer has a problem. At this point they’re already frustrated, annoyed, and possibly angry. While it’s important to write back in… Continue reading

11/14/17

Customer Service as a Competitive Advantage

In the first season of the Masters of Scale podcast I heard Reid Hoffman tell a story about the early days at PayPal. I couldn’t figure out which episode it was from, but he told the same story to the Harvard Business Review last year: We faced this issue at PayPal. In early 2000, payment transaction volume was growing at a compounding rate of 2% to 5% per day. That kind of growth put PayPal in a deep hole as far as customer service was… Continue reading

11/7/17

Amazon’s Retiree Workforce, a Basic Income Experiment, & Taking on the Opioid Industry – Link Roundup

Articles Meet the Camperforce, Amazon’s Nomadic Retiree Army – I enjoy any insight into Amazon’s warehouse operations. I found it fascinating that “a poster told workers to prepare to be sore” and that they actually provide their workers with free pain relievers, something that screams abuse and liability issues to me. [Wired] Dollar General Hits a Gold Mine in Rural America – Not sure how I feel about this. It’s great that Dollar General fills a void in communities where no one else will go,… Continue reading

11/2/17